17th March 2017: HAIR The strands attach to the wig with safety pins so there’s flexibility in how they’re positioned, they’re easily removable for storage/transportation or if I just don’t want to wear them. I can alternatively pin them to the back of dress instead which helps reduce the weight on the wig and can also make the strands appear longer. They can be reshaped to an extent depending on how I want to wear them/pose for photos, and coil up fairly well for storing and fitting them in a suitcase to travel, so although they don’t stand up to close scrutiny, I’m calling them a success! I got through 4 packs of wefts from Coscraft, but had I known what I was doing from the start I’d certainly have only needed 3 at most.
17th March 2017: HAIR The main hair strands started out the same way as the roses, but I used the full length of the wefts and didn’t peel off the vinyl backing. When they’d dried, I cut away the vinyl up to the edge of the hair and folded each piece in half lengthways so the hair-covered side was facing outwards on either side. Doubling them up like this also ensured there weren’t any gaps– the hair from the other side just shows through to fill any thinner areas. I then sewed down the edge so that I essentially had a tube I could stick wire inside.
I was also able to sew these together to make longer lengths. I have one ambitious one that is made from three pieces and the others are just two. Because each section I’d made had the hair tapering off towards the end, they form a long triangle shape when folded in half, so I could join them inconspicuously by overlapping their narrow ends in opposing directions. I still ensured that the roses are sewn on where there’s a join though. In the photo you can see the 3-part strand being pinned together before sewing. There’s one discreet join on the left which has the neat overlap I described, and then for adding on the third piece on the right I had to connect the pieces the other way around so there’s a much more abrupt, obvious join.
17th March 2017: HAIR When dry, I could peel off the vinyl backing and cut out the petal shapes for the roses, which I hand stitched together. I was limited by how the hair petals behaved, so not all the roses are ideal, but they’re not bad considering I was trying to sew with silicone coated sheets of hair (as you do). They’re sewn to the hair strands and I have a couple of others with clips on the back which I can position in my wig.
17th March 2017: HAIR For the wig, I wanted to do something reminiscent of the artwork. There was no way I could mimic anything from in-game, but the art seemed feasible, at least to an extent.
I spent quite a bit of time experimenting using some drill curl tutorials as a starting point. My first attempt was to make strands from lengths of wire sandwiched between masking tape, then stick hair to them with clear silicone bathroom sealant. However, I found it difficult to get the hair to adhere thoroughly and neatly, and it was made worse as soon as I tried to shape the wire and curl up the strands.
At the same time though, I was experimenting with ways to make the roses from hair and had come up with a method to make solid sheets of hair, which I then realised I could use to make the long strands as well. It’s still far from perfect and I don’t have a good way around the buckling on the inner curve resulting from bending the strands into shape, but it’s much neater than my first attempts.
I secured wefts to clear vinyl by sewing them along the top. I then coated the vinyl in the sealant then stuck the wefts to it. Because the wefts were sewn on, I could comb through them as viciously as required to get them neat and completely and evenly covered in the sealant.
17th March 2017: Gloves I’d made plenty spare orange bias binding when I was working on the dress. At the fingertips, I sewed the ends of the bias tape by machine into the seams, then stitched it down by hand.
17th March 2017: Gloves After an initial trial run at AmeCon 2016, I finished the costume up for MinamiCon 2017 – I made the gloves, took the leggings in at the waist so they would stay up this time, and made some additions to the wig.
Years ago I’d bought leather gloves for my Karin costume, for which I only needed one, so the spare had been dismantled and is my close-fitting non-stretch glove pattern. I used this here to make the gloves from white leatherette. Being fingerless, it wasn’t too bad – it’s getting the fingertips neat on gloves that I particularly hate! Before sewing them up, I applied a facing to finish the rectangular cut-outs on the back of the hands, and topstitched these in place.
21st August 2016: Accessories The panel on the front is craft foam which I painted black and sealed with pva glue so the sides and back would be neat. I then covered the front in orange polycotton and cut the border from leatherette. The yellow lettering is more vinyl and I painted the little crest – this took an inordinate length of time and was a fiddly operation involving narrow strips of masking tape that I cut. The two studs are decorative and it attaches to the hat with a brooch pin fastening.
She also has what I think could be a hair clip at the back, but I wanted to attach it to the hat. It is layers of craft foam and card and a couple of studs which I primed with pva and painted orange. There is also vinyl lettering and a brooch pin to complete it.
The brooch pictured again here shows how the lettering on it normally ends up invisible.
21st August 2016: Hat The hat seems fairly chunky in references so I used foam again to support it. Like the foam parts on the dress, this was a nuisance since the thickness of the foam make it harder to cover, but it’s great because it’s squashy enough to throw in a suitcase and come out unscathed.
It’s fully lined and was mostly assembled by hand. There’s a separate panel on the front and 2 straps with buckles on either side.
21st August 2016: Brooch The brooch at the centre front is a sink strainer - I have had good luck wandering around pound shops and cheap homeware places until I find objects the right shape for random costume pieces! I stuck a circle of card in the middle to cover the holes then painted it all black and glued the cat sculpted out of fimo on. I stuck on more vinyl lettering, this time from autodecal.co.uk who offer it in 10mm height, but unfortunately the paint is so shiny it doesn’t show up well at all. I did my best to capture it in this photo. The ribbon is polycotton with black bias binding. It attaches to the dress with a brooch fastening.
21st August 2016: Lettering I ordered vinyl lettering from vinylletteringonline.co.uk for the straps and the stuff on the hat. It would have been easier to photograph before I attach the straps, but it says “All cats are gray in the dark” on each side (to continue the theme, the brooch in the centre says “Curiosity killed the cat”).
21st August 2016: Dress – Straps and more Leatherette The straps are leatherette and were sewn on by hand because I wasn’t organised enough to determine their placement before I’d assembled the dress. Hand stitches also let me secure them invisibly alone their length wherever necessary, such as for the long strap down the right hand side or the ones sticking up at the shoulders.
They were all made by folding a length of leatherette in half, sewing it into a tube then turning it the right way out (with the help of a piece of ribbon sewn inside). I bought the silver end caps on ebay (although didn’t have these in time for AmeCon). For the straps without them, I sewed the ends closed before turning them the right way out. There are two straps on the front where both ends are visible so those were turned right side out through their side seam instead which was topstitched closed. All topstitching was done with my teflon foot. The straps which stick up have thin sheets of plastic slotted inside and the large arm ones have craft foam. The buckles are all from midastools on ebay.
The cuffs and hem are foam (taken from an exercise mat) covered in leatherette. This was a little awkward since the thickness of the foam made a neat covering harder, particularly for the cuffs as the interior circumference of the cuff is smaller than the exterior’s. I eventually used some spare stretch pvc for the interior which isn’t noticeably different, and let me cut a smaller shape and have a close fit on both sides of the cuff.
I like that the foam hem gives the flared shape to the dress, but it is more awkward to store the dress (and display it nicely hanging up for these photos!)
The buttons on the sleeves I covered myself and I also cut the zig zags for the collar from leatherette. The pleats at the centre front of the hem are spare black fabric and the orange trim was made from two layers of polycotton, one layer proved to be too thin. At the same time I made a more orange bias trim to eventually use on the gloves.
21st August 2016: Dress - Straps I first made newspaper templates to decide on the size and placement for the straps
21st August 2016: Dress - Back The two inserts below the waist were much easier. There are two gold studs on the dress and I used large buttons painted gold for the studs on the straps.
21st August 2016: Dress - Back At the back, the yoke is lined with craft foam inside and this helps to support the shoulders. Beneath it, I struggled with the semi-circle seam at the centre back, so ended up overlapping the panels and topstitching it in place.
21st August 2016: Dress - Closure I already had a large silver separating zip which was the right length and suited the look of the costume (just in case it shows) so I used that down the left side. The zip didn’t need to separate though, so I just secured the ends. It finishes above the black part at the hem while leaving plenty room to get in and out of the dress.
The centre front panel is two layers. For the layer underneath, the zip is positioned closer to the centre. The panel then extends further to the left to overlap the zip. It’s interfaced and understitched to stay in place. The collar fastens with a snap.
21st August 2016: Dress - Pattern The main challenges for me here were to decide how to have the dress fasten, to pattern out the pointy shoulders and incorporate all the seam detail at the back (which will never be seen underneath the wig…)
As my starting point I made some use of a pattern for a simple princess seamed dress with sleeves (New Look 6567) and also referred to a double-breasted coat pattern (Simplicity 2508) which helped me with the centre front panel and collar, but ultimately I had to draft a fair bit myself and I went through a few mock-ups to get it right.
I had just enough yellow fabric left from my Athena costume so I had to be absolutely certain of the pattern before cutting and I spent ages on the layout to fit everything in with grain all consistent. It’s all lined in yellow as well (which was also used for my last mock-up as shown). I had different pattern pieces for the lining and the front left and right of the outer fabric so I had to take care to keep track of it all.
21st August 2016: Leggings I made the straps going around my legs separate, because I wanted to attach them to my leggings and I didn’t want the leggings sewn to my shoes. The top strap is hand sewn to the leggings most of the way around which ensures it stays up and supports the weight of the buckle. I found I didn’t need to then secure anything further.
I bought black leggings from Primark, which were long enough that I could cover my feet with them. Much simpler than sewing something myself. I wanted to be able to sew the shoe straps to them, so I didn’t want to use tights, and the dress is so short having leggings was better. They’re a bit big for me though so need to take them in at the waist. My grand plan of ensuring the straps would stay up if they were attached to the leggings only works if the leggings can stay up!
21st August 2016: Shoes The heels and soles were painted orange with a couple of coats of enamel. The interiors were a pale colour, so I painted part of them black in case the inner sole shows.
I then patterned out a cover for them and sewed it in white leatherette. This didn’t turn out as well as I wanted since the leatherette didn’t have the stretch I was looking for, and it really shows that this was one of the last things I made and I rushed through it.
I made lined orange polycotton shapes for the toes and topstitched them on. The heel strap was lined and the upper edge finished with a facing which was understitched in place. I then glued the covers on using Shoe Goo.
The cats on the toes are made from fimo clay and the black dishes they’re glued into are upside down sink plugs! I used more Shoe Goo to stick them on.
Frustratingly, the ankle buckle goes in the wrong direction to actually function as a fastening, but I found I could slide the heel strap on and off without needing any closures.
At the centre back there’s a loop which connects the shoe strap to the strap going around my leg. The loop going around my ankle fastens at the back with velcro, and this is hidden inside that loop.
21st August 2016: Shoes I bought some boots on ebay which had the correct sort of heel and toe shape. They also had open backs which was ideal. I cut them down into the court shoe shape at the front and reshaped the strap going round my heel. I also glued the zip closed since it wasn’t needed – I could slip the shoes on and off after all the trimming I’d done.
21st August 2016: Wig I have some plans to upgrade this, but my initial wig is the Alex from CosCraft in Milkmaid Blonde. I was set on this colour so settled on a shorter wig than I had in mind. To extend it, I bought a matching ponytail clip, because this was longer than the extensions on offer, and dismantled it to use the wefts. I removed wefts from the wig and replaced them with the longer wefts from the ponytail. Replacing wefts rather than adding kept the weight of the wig down and helped to create a more even look, rather than leaving an obvious point where the shorter lengths finished. I also sewed in a couple of clips at the front to secure it as. I clipped the fringe to one side (clips hidden by the hat) and cut in the short pieces at the front.
Photo (from mangamad) shows the length of wig I ended up with.
Mighty Odango - 25th August 2016
Wow, you made it already! Looks excellent as ever :D
Amy-Lou - 12th October 2017
Oh wow, that wig is amazing! Great work :D
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